Born in Montclair, New Jersey, and raised in Hilton Head, South Carolina, Duncan Sheik spent his teen years immersed in the music of the Beach Boys, the Smiths, and the Blue Nile. Sheik attended Brown University, where he spent a year playing in Liz & Lisa, a band whose membership included singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb. After heading out on his own, Sheik eventually inked with Atlantic.
Sheik’s 1996 self-titled RIAA gold-certified Atlantic debut, which included the hit singles Barely Breathing and She Runs Away, was a tremendous popular and critical success. During the nearly two years he spent on the road with the album, Sheik toured with such artists as Jewel, Shawn Colvin, and Jars of Clay, in addition to headlining his own North American club tour.
In early 1998, Sheik delivered Wishful Thinking, a standout track from Atlantic’s Great Expectations soundtrack. October of the same year brought the release of Sheik’s second album, Humming, a more band-oriented expression, characterized in part by a stronger drum presence and lush string arrangements, for which Sheik took the role of co-producer. His subsequent travels included a Musical Bridgesgoodwill trip to Cuba with former bandmate Lisa Loeb, and a trip to Albania where he performed under the auspices of the renowned War Child organization.
2001 brought the release of Phantom Moon, a primarily acoustic project recorded for Nonesuch Records. Spawned from interactions with New York playwright Steven Sater, the album thrives within its environment of reflection, observation, and solitude, and stylistically reflects Sheik’s continuing devotion to the work of Mark Hollis and Nick Drake. In contrast, Sheik’s most recent release, 2002’s Daylight, exchanges the airy detachment of previous releases with a distinctive pop sensibility. His compelling yet accessible lyrics and appealing rhythms have garnered positive reviews across the board.
Duncan Sheik uses M-Audio’s Oxygen8, Studio Pack, and Reason.